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Sicily Travel Guide

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Siracusa, Sicily

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The Greek theater in Siracusa, Sicily

Siracusa , founded in the 8th Century B.C., was the leading city of Magna Graecia and one of the most powerful and largest cities in the Mediterranean area before the birth of Christ.  Cicero described Siracusa as "The great Greek city and the most beautiful of all." 

Archimedes was born in Siracusa and lived there until his untimely  death during a battle with the Romans in the 3rd century B.C.  The strategic position and power that accrued to the city was a dual-edged sword.  The city's  greatest conflict was with Carthage (although it was also attacked by Greece) and continuous battles between the two, as well as internal political strife, eventually weakened the city.  In the 3rd century B.C. the city-state was conquered by Rome.

Siracusa is well known for its Neopolis Archaeological Park on Terminite Hill.  The Park contains an impressive Greek theater (photograph above) and a less well preserved Roman theater (photograph below), as well as other treasures. 


The Roman ampitheater in Siracusa, Sicily


Towards the west of the city is the Euryalus Castle (shown below), dating from the 5th century B.C.  As a response to the frequent attacks by Carthage, the rulers of Siracusa built fortified walls almost twenty miles in length and added the Euryalus Castle to complete their fortification effort.

. .Euryalus Castle in Siracusa, Sicily


Ortygia Island (below) is charming and deserves your time.  Many gather at the Fonte Arethusa, a freshwater pond (fountain) whose origin is linked to Greek mythology and the story of the water nymph Arethusa.  The story has attracted attention throughout history and this is a great place to stop at one of the many cafes and contemplate the three thousand year  history of Siracusa and the Mediterranean.

Ortygia Island, the heart of ancient Siracusa, Sicily

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